Date with the Devils

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson speaks to media following practice at Scotiabank Place on Sunday...

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson speaks to media following practice at Scotiabank Place on Sunday morning. (Sun Media/Blair Gable)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

To keep their Stanley Cup dream alive, the Senators will have to go through Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

The big question is: When can they get started?

The Devils knocked off the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 yesterday to cement their Round 2 date with the Senators.

League sources say Devils president/GM/coach Lou Lamoriello balked at a suggestion by the NHL that the series should open tomorrow. The indication is Lamoriello wants his team to get some rest after a tough series against the Lightning.

The NHL will likely announce today the Senators will play Game 1 on Thursday at Continental Airlines Arena. Negotiations were still taking place, but it's believed Game 2 could be Saturday at 8 p.m. after the Champions on Ice show scheduled for 3 p.m.

If that's the case, Game 3 could be back at Scotiabank Place on Monday at 7 p.m.

As for the Devils, the Senators know exactly what to expect.

"They are what they are. They've been the same way for a number of years. It's defence first," said Senators coach Bryan Murray yesterday.

"They count on their goaltender and they count on being real good positionally. They're confident. You can see that late in games. If there's a challenge at all, they seem to be able to meet it. They're a dangerous team."

Heading into yesterday's Devils-Lightning game, there was still a chance the Senators could face the New York Rangers, but Ottawa spent plenty of time during a 60-minute practice preparing for a challenge against the Devils. A lot of work was done on breaking the trap and playing well positionally.

"They play that conservative, five-guys-in-every-zone, Marty Brodeur-in-net, kind of patient game. We'll just have to adjust to that," said Senators centre Jason Spezza.

"We feel if we're skating and forechecking and controlling the pace of the game, we can beat anyone. We have to continue to get pucks deep, play physical and play our game. We're going to try to force them to take some chances."

STOPPED IN 2003 FINAL

The Devils halted Ottawa's shot at advancing to the Stanley Cup final in Game 7 of the East final in 2003.

The Senators had a 1-3 record against the Devils during the regular season.

"New Jersey, we know, is very stable with a great goaltender and defensively they're going to challenge you to score goals," said Murray. "They wait for mistakes and their counter-attack is one of the best in the league.

"I think they have two lines that are really good offensively and a great checking line. We know after the season series that they're a difficult opponent. But if we keep playing the way we're playing and attack the way we did, then we'll get our chances as well."

The Devils know they're in for a tough challenge.

"We're just going to enjoy this one for a bit," New Jersey winger Scott Gomez told CBC. "Ottawa is a great team and we've had some history with those guys in the playoffs. It just keeps getting tougher."


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